The cabinet on Sunday approved a four percent budget reduction for government
ministries and passed a planning and building reform plan that would ease
bureaucracy on home improvements.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
Finance Minister Yair Lapid offered up the four percent cuts, which will not
apply to the Defense, Education, Welfare and Transportation Ministries to offset
budget changes agreed to in the Knesset Finance Committee the previous
Those changes included a more progressive increase on income tax,
elimination of taxes on housewives and a moderation in reductions in cuts to
child allotments, among other things.
“The move is necessary in order to
restore responsible policy and prevent the state from going bankrupt,” Lapid
Opposition Leader Shelly Yacimovich called the reduction cowardly,
saying it would pull funds needed to police the streets, fund higher education,
buy hospital equipment and train the unemployed.
Netanyahu and Lapid, she
said, “choose to hurt the vast majority of Israelis, those who don’t have
lobbyists and are not well-connected.”
The cabinet also approved Interior
Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s reform plans for building and planning, which will
eliminate the need to obtain a permit for building structures that do not
interfere with the surroundings, such as fences, awnings or pergolas.
want to simplify these processes, to cut bureaucracy, to shorten timetables” for
planning and building, Netanyahu said ahead of the cabinet meeting.
reform also establishes an abbreviated licensing process. For the first time,
the law will set a 45-day limit for approving certain structures and work, such
as closing an existing balcony, adding up to 25 sq.m. of space, adding a
protected room in an existing building and adding elevators or escalators to an
existing building. If no approval is given within 45 days, the applicant will
automatically receive permission.
The bill also lays out, for the first
time, a limit on approval time for plans. Approval or rejection of a plan will
be made within 12 months for plans under the purview of a local planning and
building commission, 18 months for plans under the purview of a regional
planning and building commission, and 24 months for town and national outline
Furthermore, the reform will combine licensing institutes for
regulatory permits under one roof, and devolve some planning authority to local
and regional commissions.
Instead of six regional planning commissions
planning services for 2.5 million households, 123 local planning commissions
will take on the responsibility.
The reform, originally planned in the
previous Knesset session, was withdrawn when it became overly complex, Netanyahu
He credited Sa’ar with paring it down to the “improved and
scaled-down reform” passed by the cabinet on Sunday, which was expected to be
presented to the Knesset in its first reading within a week.
contributed to this report.